Yesterday morning we held our first Hummingbird Monitoring and Banding session of the year here at the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife. It was our first session since August of 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it did not disappoint!
Grouse Mountain is part of the Hummingbird Monitoring Network which has a group of monitoring stations from Mexico up towards Alaska. The primary focus of the network is to study the Rufous Hummingbird and it's migratory pathways. As part of the study other species of hummingbirds are also monitored. We have a special hummingbird net that prevents them from leaving the area around a feeder and then trained handlers reach in and gently retrieve a bird. It is then measured, sexed, aged (is it a young bird or an old bird etc) and the general health of the bird is assessed and then a small band is placed on its leg so that if it is caught again we'll know when and where it was banded. The birds are then given a little drink of nectar and safely released on their way.
This session saw us banding 29 birds of both of the species found on Grouse Mountain - Anna's Hummingbirds and Rufous Hummingbirds. We also saw quite a few juvenile birds that had been born this year - a great sign as to the health of the population.
We look forward to a few more sessions this summer!